Nou Barris is a district of Barcelona at the northern end of the city, between the Sierra de Collserola and Avinguda Meridiana. It borders Horta-Guinardó to the south and the Collserola mountain range to the west. In total, the district has more than 800 hectares and is home to about 168,000 people from very different backgrounds.
The peculiarities of the recent history of Nou Barris, the point of reception of an important part of the labor immigration that arrived in Barcelona during the fifties and sixties of the twentieth century, have made it the territory with more units of the new map.
The last recognized neighborhood is that of Can Peguera, which becomes the thirteenth neighborhood in memory of its origins in the project to relocate, in the second decade of the twentieth century, workers who lived in huts in Montjuïc in groups of houses popularly known as the Cheap Houses. The upper end of the district is occupied by the neighborhoods of Ciutat Meridiana, Torre Baró and Vallbona, with urban structures very marked by the mountainous terrain and the great artificial barriers (motorways and train tracks).
The other districts have the largest population, such as La Prosperitat, Porta, La Guineueta, Turó de la Peira and Les Roquetes. The one in Verdun remains with the place name in memory of the battle of the First World War, to the detriment of the Catalanized Verdum, which gives its name to a square.
Politically, the district experienced a strong activity led by neighborhood associations throughout the Franco regime, in response to the disorderly urbanism and developmental imbalances of the 1960s and 1970s. During democracy, the district has been a granary of votes of the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya, usually exceeding more than fifty percent of the vote. The name of the district was officially put on January 18, 1984 when Barcelona City Council approved a new territorial division of the city, using the name of the magazine of the first residents’ association in the area in the early seventies. The fact is that an important part of Nou Barris was within the old District 9, along with part of the current district of Sant Andreu. In the first projects of division of the city in the ten present districts, for this district the name of North City seted out.
One of the most imposing constructions of the district was initially called Asylum of Santa Cruz, and known more recently until its closing in 1986 like Mental Institute of Santa Cruz, the present one soothes of the district. The original construction designed by Dr. Emili Pi i Molist and by the architect Josep Oriol i Bernadet, was one of the most brilliant examples of “moral” asylum architecture in Europe. The building remained intact until 1970 and its heritage value was much greater than other projects by Josep Oriol and Bernadet such as Can Ricartnow in the process of heritage protection.
Designed between 1855 and 1860 its construction began in 1886 and did not finish until 1910-1915. It was surrounded by a 120-hectare estate on which they would be built, after a speculative process that began in 1955 and ended in 1977 in the neighborhoods of La Guineueta, Canyelles, part of Verdun and the area of Can Peguera. Even today the mountain part of the estate, known as Can Masdeu, remains. Currently, the building is in use by the Municipal Archive of the Nou Barris District, the Municipal Council of the Nou Barris District and the Popular Library of Nou Barris, one of the largest in the city.
Until the first third of the 19th century, the landscape of Nou Barris was basically rural, a feature it shared with other places and municipalities that, such as Sant Andreu, Sant Martí, Les Corts or Sants, were part of the so-called Barcelona plan.. Its rugged and mountainous territory, since Nou Barris extends along the north-eastern slope of the Collserola mountain range, was crossed by numerous torrents and streams that, with the exception of the ancient Rec Comtal, have disappeared with the subsequent urbanisations..
Some of its names still survive in the nearby streets: torrent d’en Tissó, torrent de Can Campanya, riera d’Horta… There were also springs much appreciated for their waters; Among those that are preserved are the Muguera fountain and the Canyelles fountain. The farmhouses scattered throughout the mountains concentrated the agricultural activity that took place in the territory. Most have disappeared, although they have given names to entire places or neighborhoods, for example, Can Dragó, Can Garrigó, Ca la Peira, Can Guineueta, Torre Baró, and so on.
Other farmhouses are still preserved and maintain a certain economic activity, as is the case of Can Carreras or Can Verdaguer. Some, finally, are used as public facilities, as is the case of Ca n’Ensenya, Torre Llobeta or Can Basté. The oldest town in Nou Barris was Santa Eulàlia de Vilapicina, a small neighborhood that was articulated around a Romanesque chapel of the same name, which already existed in the tenth century and was rebuilt in 1782. Nearby are Ca n’Artés, an old 16th-century hostel built on the Camino de Sant Iscle, and Can Basté, a late 18th-century farmhouse.
The population of the farmhouses and this small neighborhood was not more than a few hundred inhabitants in the mid-nineteenth century. The economy was based on some artisanal activities and, above all, on the cultivation of the vineyard and fodder for livestock. Products from the orchard were also grown for the consumption of the inhabitants of nearby Barcelona, still surrounded by walls.
The slow pace of rural life began to change in the mid-nineteenth century as a result of the Industrial Revolution, which affected Barcelona and the surrounding villages. The increase in population, the transport revolution and the new demands of industrialization timidly affected Nou Barris and set in motion a slow but already unstoppable transformation of the landscape. The increase of the population in the municipality of Sant Andreu and the consolidation of the hygienic ideas caused that in 1839 the old parish cemetery was moved to the current district of Porta. This action made it easier for small flour and carpentry industries to begin to be located near the cemetery, as well as for the construction of some houses. This first urban development in Porta continued with the construction, in 1855, of the railway line from Barcelona to Zaragoza, and with the installation, in 1880, of the Tallers del Ferrocarril del Nord in the current area of Can Dragó.
On the other hand, the growing water needs of the inhabitants and the new industries of the Barcelona plan favored the construction, between 1871 and 1881, of two aqueducts that crossed the territory of Nou Barris, some sections of which are still they are preserved in Ciutat Meridiana, Torre Baró and Can Carreras. Industrialization also began timidly in the Vilapicina area, as manufactures dedicated to the production of textiles, fertilizers, soap, bricks, chemicals… and even electricity, for the traction of the trams of the line from Barcelona to Horta, in the current garages of the Paseo de Borbón.
This very modest process of industrialization, especially if we compare it with the proportions that the same process reached in the other places of the Barcelona plan, coincided with the most important urban initiative of the 19th century in Nou Barris: the urbanization of Passeig de Santa Eulàlia, currently from Fabra i Puig. The promenade was approved in 1875 by the City Council of Sant Andreu and, since the eighties, has become the backbone of a kind of small Eixample that boosted construction activity in the neighborhoods of Vilapicina and Porta.
In 1889, in the current Guineueta, the Mental Hospital of the Holy Cross was inaugurated, directed by Dr. Emili Pi i Molist, one of the pioneers in the treatment of mental illness in Spain. The imposing building was built following a “reasoned medical project”, which collected the most modern hospital techniques of the time. The installation of the sanatorium follows the logic of industrialization that moves to the periphery, and in this case to Nou Barris, some of the great infrastructures or general equipment of the city, for example, the workshops of the railroad, the mental sanatorium and, later, the Montcada water lifting station or the high voltage electricity towers.
At the end of the 19th century, the population of Nou Barris could be estimated at around 1,700 inhabitants, mostly farmers, but with a progressive incidence of day laborers employed in local manufactures or in the growing industries of Sant Andreu. We know little about the social and cultural concerns of this population, but some facts are illustrative of which we have evidence, for example, the demands made by the residents of Santa Eulàlia to the City of Sant Andreu in 1874 to install In the neighborhood a school for girls, or the foundation, in 1887, of the Society of Workers and Auxiliaries L’Estrella, located in the street of Porta and dedicated to recreational and family activities and mutual aid between members in case of death or illness.
The new century began in Nou Barris with a proposal for a garden city that was to be developed in a place of exceptional natural quality: the old heritage of Torre Baró i Vallbona, owned by the Sivatte family since 1873. Following currents of urban planning and hygiene of great international prestige that inspired urban initiatives with similar characteristics in Barcelona, such as Avinguda del Tibidabo or Park Güell, in 1904 the Compañía de Urbanización de las Alturas del NE of Horta.
The real estate operation related to the garden city did not prosper, although the company built the road that connects Horta with the hill of Les Roquetes and began the construction of the medieval-looking building, which was to have functions of hotel and today we know it as Torre Baró Castle. As a witness to this project, some summer towers built in the area between 1915 and 1936 are preserved.
From 1917 onwards, and under the auspices of the gains reported by Spain’s neutrality in the First World War, a new urban phenomenon took place in the city, consisting of the appearance, in the Barcelona plain, of some new urban peripheries made up of a basically working-class population with a high proportion of immigrants. Under these circumstances, and until 1936, Nou Barris became the suburb that experienced the most dynamic growth in Barcelona, as in its territory rose one tenth of all the new building that was made on the outskirts of the city.
In addition, on the land of Can Peguera, more than five hundred houses were built as part of the Ramon Albó estate, one of the four groups of cheap houses built in the city in 1929 by the Patronat de l’Habitatge. During this period, the neighborhoods of Les Roquetes, Verdum, Charlot, La Prosperitat, La Guineueta and Can Borràs arose practically out of nowhere. An indirect proof of this construction fever is the creation, in 1925, of the entity Defensa de los Intereses de la Propiedad Urbana de las Afueras de San Andrés, which today we know as the Association of Owners of Les Roquetes.
As can be deduced, the increase in population was significant, and in 1930, when Barcelona reached the legendary million inhabitants, Nou Barris already had 17,000. As a general feature we can say that this population was relatively young, with a notable presence of immigrants and a large number of children. The incidence of illiteracy was high, and it became more apparent among women. Most of the active population classified itself as day laborers, and the presence of merchants, landlords, and liberal professionals was very scarce.
Social life in Nou Barris was organized around cultural, sports and recreational societies of all kinds, such as the Casinet de Vilapicina, continuator of the society L’Estrella, the defunct Ateneu Familiar Artístic i Cultural, created in Verdum I in 1927, or the still current choir of L’ldeal d’en Clavé, founded in 1930. In the sports field we must mention the veteran football teams La Montañesa and Les Roquetes, created in 1927 and 1929, respectively. There were also some political party headquarters, such as the Monarchical Union, located in the current Via Júlia, and it seems that others were established during the republican era. It must be said that in the general elections of February 1936, in Nou Barris, the Popular Front won by a wide margin.
The end of the Civil War with the victory of Franco’s troops over the democratic regime of the Second Republic gave way to a military dictatorship based on the repression of the population and the absence of political, trade union and national freedoms. The harsh economic conditions arising from the immediate postwar period, combined with the urgent need for housing and the ferocious political control exercised over the population, led to shantytowns and self-construction, a form of urban growth hitherto unknown in Nou Barris that it ruled out any demand for services and living conditions.
In this context and between the years 1941 and 1945, in Torre Baró i Vallbona what was an ambitious garden city project was transformed into an exhaustive subdivision of the territory, where very precarious housing was built, often lacking. of such basic services as water, electricity or sewerage. Self-construction spread to the Roquetes in the 1950s, where in the summer of 1964 residents decided to provide the neighborhood with non-existent water and sewer services, and they built them themselves on Sundays. This initiative was later known as “Urbanizing on Sunday.”
The beginning of Spanish industrialization, produced in the fifties as a result of the opening of the economy to foreign markets, caused an unstoppable process of emigration from all parts of Spain to the major industrial cities, among others Barcelona, a fact that meant an aggravation of the already difficult conditions of the population’s housing. This demographic pressure forced certain official bodies of the Franco regime, such as the Civil Government, the Municipal Housing Board or the vertical union itself through its Home Trade Union Work, to intervene in the promotion of housing in the city.
For this reason, between 1952 and 1955 the so-called Viviendas del Gobernador in the Verdum district, the Torre Llobeta estate and the Obra Sindical del Hogar estates in Verdum and La Trinitat Nova were built in Nou Barris. In Nou Barris public transport was practically non-existent at that time. From 1949 onwards, there was only one train stop in Torre Baró, and you had to go to Horta or Sant Andreu to catch the trams and buses that connected with the rest of the city.
This lack forced long and arduous journeys, both to go to work and to use public services, which were always scarce. It is understandable, then, that the residents of Verdum, Les Roquetes and La Prosperitat organized a big celebration when, in 1953, the TAC company’s buses arrived in Via Júlia. In a context of rapid economic growth and strong immigration that generated a permanent housing deficit in the city, the approval, in 1953, of the Barcelona Regional Plan was decisive for the growth of Barcelona and Nou Barris in the following two decades.
The Regional Plan, which designed the city’s major roads, also incorporated a first-rate urban planning instrument – the Partial Plan – which in each specific territory decided on land uses, the alignments of streets and squares, the location of open spaces, public services and buildings, as well as the volume, destination and sanitary and aesthetic conditions of the buildings. Needless to say, this powerful instrument was widely used in Nou Barris, where the partial plans affected twelve of the fourteen neighborhoods that make it up, with the sole exception of Vilapicina and a small part of Porta. It should also be mentioned that in Nou Barris the fifth part of the partial plans that were executed in the whole city was developed.
At first these partial plans were promoted by the owners of the land that still remained to be developed in Nou Barris and, in many cases, they served to legalize the urban misdeeds that had been committed in the previous decade. But it was in the 1960s that, in the context of developmentalism and the arrival of thousands of immigrants in Barcelona, the partial plans were transformed into real instruments for speculation, as they remained in the hands of large real estate companies. that in Nou Barris they did multimillionaire businesses.
Under this approach, the housing estates of La Guineueta, Porta, Turó de la Peira, Ciutat Meridiana, Barcinova and Calinova were built in La Guineueta, the last of which meant the demolition of a large part of the Mental Hospital building. The last industrial estate, of municipal promotion and which was inaugurated in pre-democratic times, was that of Canyelles, in 1974. The logical consequence of this speculative urbanism of the Franco regime was the deficit of facilities and public services that became apparent throughout the city, but with more intensity in the suburbs and newly built. It is only necessary to mention that in 1967, not so far away, some old trams were still enabled as schools in Nou Barris.
In the sixties and seventies, the lack of schools, surgeries, sports and recreation areas, as well as a long list of others, was proverbial in Nou Barris, since the priority of the Franco municipal administration was not, in absolute, increase the welfare of the population. The awareness of the citizens in the face of these shortcomings gave birth, in 1970, to the Association of Neighbors of Nou Barris, a pioneering entity in the fight against partial plans and for the improvement of living conditions and the achievement of democratic freedoms.
In the early 1970s, neighborhood associations sprang up in each neighborhood that accommodated fighters of all kinds: conscientious neighbors, committed Christians, anti-Franco fighters, and members of the then-illegal political parties. Together, men and women, young and old, organized assemblies, demonstrations and all kinds of activities that showed the shortcomings that needed to be improved and the freedoms that needed to be achieved. Thus, rental strikes were launched to improve the OSH estates, popular Olympics to demand sports equipment and for youth, rat hunting to improve cleanliness, actions to paralyze an asphalt plant and turn it into an athenaeum, closures to get high schools, bus hijackings to get them to the neighborhoods, demonstrations to get traffic lights, and a long list of other things that was the expression of the fighting and ingenuity of the citizens of Nou Barris.
The achievement of democracy, in 1977, and the first municipal elections of 1979 meant a great change for the citizens and the landscape of Nou Barris, as much of the demands of the residents were met by the new municipalities and institutions democratic, at the same time as new mechanisms of intervention and social participation were created. From this perspective, the new urbanism developed by the democratic City Council in the eighties has been conceived as a suture urbanism, that is, an urbanism capable of linking what had been separated and capable of intervening in regeneration. and the dignification of spaces marginalized by Franco’s speculation.
This urbanism, which is not understood without citizen participation and which has also shown real weaknesses such as making the special plans for interior reform (PERI) viable, has given very good examples of its know-how in Nou Barris. Examples are the squares of Sóller, Àngel Pestaña or Llucmajor, via Júlia and Avinguda de Rio de Janeiro, spaces where action has also been taken from the point of view of the monumentalisation of the periphery, creating a real street art gallery of very good international sculpture. That said, the urban interventions that can best define the new way of making a city in Nou Barris are those that have managed to link the achievement of a new social, cultural or sports facility with the improvement of the urban quality of its environment.
It is from these facilities, from this improvement of the quality of life, from the entrepreneurial spirit of the citizens and from the rich associative network of Nou Barris, that it is necessary to advance in the strengthening of the relationships between people, in the participation of all in the affairs of the community and in the deepening of democratic values, which are what make us truly free.
The story of Nou Barris is the story of the people who have lived, worked and forged their dreams and hopes for the future. It is also the story of social agents who, in different economic and political contexts, have materialized their initiatives and projects. This historical legacy has left its mark on both the landscape of Nou Barris and the way its citizens work, and has formed a collective image or identity features that we have tried to interpret.
Can Peguera district
Located at the foot of the northern slope of the hill of La Peira, the name comes from the manufacture of glue that was made from the pine forests.
At the foot of the northern slope of the hill of La Peira lies the neighborhood of Can Peguera, on land of the old farmhouse that presided over the area. The name comes from the manufacture of glue that was made in this environment full of pine forests. The residential complex that was built there, known for many years as Ramon Albó, was one of four groups of cheap houses — single-storey single-family homes, most with rustic roofs and small front gardens. that the Municipal Housing Board built in Barcelona coinciding with the Universal Exhibition of 1929, to relocate the workers who lived in huts in Montjuïc.
The replacement of the old houses with new blocks, which has already been carried out in the Eduardo Aunós group (Sants-Montjuïc) and the Baró de Viver group (Sant Andreu), as well as the one being done in El Bon Pastor (also in the district of Sant Andreu) will leave the whole of Can Peguera as the last living testimony of this type of building in Barcelona.
Canyelles, built in 1974, is the last housing estate built in the district during the pre-democratic period.
The farmland of the old farmhouse of Can Guineueta, built in the 18th century, reached more or less as far as the place where the Canyelles Market now stands. This area of cultivation changed radically during the 1940s. After the Civil War, the area around the farmhouse began to be populated with huts and small houses that ended up forming the improvised neighborhood of La Guineueta Vella; their 250 homes had no service whatsoever. Neither electricity nor sewer. The construction project of the Ronda de Dalt sentenced this makeshift neighborhood in the mid-sixties when the land was expropriated to build a housing estate. The farmhouse disappeared and gave way to the skyscrapers of the new neighborhood. The neighborhood struggle, however, allowed the inhabitants of La Guineueta Vella to live in the 3,000 homes in the new neighborhood that would be built where their home was. This new neighborhood was called Canyelles and opened in 1978.
Ciutat Meridiana district
Ciutat Meridiana is one of the clearest examples of pre-democratic speculative urbanism and constitutes an ecological aggression in the Collserola mountain range.
Until the sixties, the steep lands where the neighborhood is today were farmland of the Quadra de Vallbona. An initial project planned to turn the land into a cemetery, but the extreme humidity did not allow it to be consecrated to the dead. From 1963, a developer group, including Joan Antoni Samaranch, developed them with large blocks of flats. As was usual in Franco’s town planning, the neighborhood was built without the most basic facilities and without any kind of urban services. The first neighborhood protests were, of course, because of the dampness of the flats. Then outpatient clinics, schools and more street health were vindicated, as evidenced by the rat hunting contest held in 1971.
With the arrival of the first democratic city council, the mistakes made in the Meridian City began to be repaired. Since then, health, socio-cultural and educational facilities have been created, the streets have been renovated and escalators of all kinds have been installed to overcome the great unevenness of the neighborhood. The upper part of Ciudad Meridiana has also been connected by the L11 metro station.
El Turó de la Peira district
The neighborhood is arranged around the hill that gives it its name and that surrounds it almost completely. The upper part of the hill is an urban park dating from 1936.
The leafy pine forest, crowned by a viewpoint and a large cross, which belonged to the Can Peguera estate became a public park in 1936 but in the early 1960s, the dimensions of the park were reduced by the construction of housing as a result of a partial plan. According to the official division of neighborhoods made in 2006, Turó de la Peira is delimited by Passeig de Fabra i Puig, Carrer de Camós, Carrer de Cornudella, Carrer de Biure, Carrer de Vila-seca, Carrer de Pedret, Paseo de Urrutia, elDoctor Pi i Molist street and Virrei Amat square. The name comes from the hill of the same name, located in the northwestern part of the neighborhood. In the early 1990s, it was detected that many homes in the neighborhood suffered from aluminosis, a pathology of concrete that degrades its strength and endangers the structure of buildings. As a result, about 3,000 homes were replaced or rehabilitated.
La Guineueta district
La Guineueta is made up of the Guineueta estate in the north, and the Barcinova and Calinova housing estates in the south, built during the 1970s.
Can Guineueta was a farmhouse located more or less where there is now the intersection of Passeig de Valldaura with Carrer de la Gasela. For many years, the farmhouse was at the foot of the old road from Cornellà to Fogars de Tordera, a road that roughly followed the route that today occupies the Ronda de Dalt. Crop fields began to disappear during the 1940s, but it was not until the 1960s that the area was urbanized with the construction of two separate urban areas along Passeig de Valldaura. On the north side are the homes of the promotions of the Obra Sindical del Hogar, the Cooperativa La Puntual and companies such as Telefónica, Catalana de Gas and Fecsa. This area had the same problems of infrastructure and lack of services as the rest of the neighborhoods built during the Franco regime in Barcelona. Neighbors had to struggle to get the equipment, services, and so on. One of the milestones was the urbanization of the Torrent de la Guineu, which was transformed, in 1971, into the Guineueta park.
On the other side of Passeig de Valldaura, the Barcinova and Calinova industrial estates were built on land occupied by the Institut de la Santa Creu and which were left free due to the demolition of a large part of the hospital building. The Nou Barris Central Park, designed by Carme Fiol and Andreu Arriola, was inaugurated on these lands in the 1990s. The park is home to several interesting buildings such as the Dosrius Aqueduct, built in the 19th century to supply water to Barcelona, and the 17th-century Can Carreras farmhouse. Also, in the part that has been preserved of the Mental building, there are currently several municipal services, such as the headquarters of the Nou Barris District, the Guàrdia Urbana and the library.
Prosperity arose practically out of nowhere during the 1920s and 1930s, in the process of population expansion in the city.
The Prosperitat district, with an area of 59 hectares, is limited by Via Júlia, Avinguda Meridiana, Passeig de Valldaura and Via Favència. The territory was occupied until the first third of the twentieth century by fields, some farmhouses and towers of the bourgeoisie and artisans of Sant Andreu. Following the migratory waves of the 1920s and 1940s, a shantytown and anarchist settlement began. This neighborhood was christened with the same name as the cooperative that existed in the 1930s in the southernmost part of Nou Barris.
With the formulation of a partial urban development plan in 1957, an important process of growth of this sector was developed, with the construction of houses of flats and blocks, which was not accompanied, however, by the endowment. of the urban facilities provided for in this plan. In just over fifteen years, the neighborhood underwent a profound transformation with the arrival of immigrants from the rest of the state, which led to speculative construction without sufficient facilities or services. In 1973, the wooden barracks that RENFE erected next to the Can Dragó farmhouse still stood, where its railway workers lived in terrible conditions.
It was not until 1976 that the first square, that of Prosperitat, was developed on land owned by Hispano Villiers. In the democratic era and as a result of the neighborhood vindication, new urban spaces were opened such as the Plaza de Ángel Pestaña, which has become a central space in the neighborhood, or the street of Pablo Iglesias, which brings together an important neighborhood life and commercial.
New Trinity district
Emerged during the fifties, it has the typical configuration in blocks surrounded by garden spaces, and the houses are small.
The Trinitat Nova neighborhood has traditionally been an area dedicated to agriculture and the exploitation of small quarries. In 1825, an aqueduct was built to supply water to Barcelona, and in the middle of the 19th century the first railways were built. At the beginning of the 20th century, the first industries were set up —Teneria Ibérica de Sant Andreu de Schmidt i Cia— and the electricity network was strengthened. In the early twentieth century and until the Civil War, which crushed everything, there were major urban development projects in the neighborhood. It was in the fifties that a definitive impetus was given to the urbanization of the neighborhood with the promotion of 3,000 new homes by the Municipal Housing Board, the National Housing Institute and the Home Trade Union Work.
The urban result in the late seventies was a housing model consisting of small blocks that were separated by small landscaped areas. These homes suffered from serious structural pathologies and were rehabilitated. Access to the neighborhood has also improved, especially with the arrival of the subway.
Les Roquetes district
The Roquetes district is located in an area with steep slopes. The significant immigration of the fifties built the houses themselves.
Les Roquetes is a neighborhood located at the foot of the hill that bears this name, between the Ronda de Dalt and the Sierra de Collserola. It is characterized by steep slopes. Historically, it contained quarries, some mines and forests of oaks and pines, which were replaced by the urbanization of the space, already at the beginning of the 20th century. Names like Campreciós, Jaume Pinent, Catasús or Llopis will be linked to this neighborhood forever.
Urbanization was especially important in the fifties, with the arrival of immigration. The Obra Sindical de l’Habitatge built more than a thousand homes of very small size and poor quality, which was not enough to absorb the great demand that was there. Thus, many families built their own houses on undeveloped land or without any service. This anarchy led residents to build minimal infrastructure, such as pipes to bring drinking water to their homes, as well as a precarious sewer network. These works were carried out on public holidays and Sundays. At the same time, the protest force of the neighborhood managed to get public transport to the neighborhood, and the Administration to open health and educational facilities. In recent decades, the administrations brought the metro, in 2008, built car parks and created a series of elevators to facilitate pedestrian mobility, comfortably avoiding some of the steep slopes that characterize the neighborhood.
Born of demographic pressure at the end of the 19th century, it is separated from Sant Andreu by the Meridiana. The neighborhood contains old rural buildings and is rich in green areas.
Until the 19th century, the Porta district was basically rural and quite depopulated. It was part of the old settlement of Santa Eulàlia de Vilapicina, which nevertheless belonged to the municipality of Sant Andreu de Palomar, annexed to the city of Barcelona in 1897. The main communication route of these lands was the old road of Sant Andreu to Horta, which already existed in the 13th century and around which farmhouses such as Can Piquer, Can Verdaguer, Can Valent were emerging, all prior to the 17th century, Can Borràs, Can Dumanjó, Ca l’Estudiant and Can Porta, which ceded the land for the construction of the first houses in the neighborhood and gave it its name. The landscape of the lands, except for the northern part, forest, was of fields of vegetables, cereals and vineyards both because it was crossed by streams, torrents and streams that flowed from Collserola (Piquer torrent, Canyelles spring, Sant Andreu stream), as if to cover the inhabitants and the farm cattle that were raised there intensively.
As Sant Andreu de Palomar grew throughout the 19th century, ground floor houses with orchards, some workshops and small industries were set up in the small town of Can Porta, but the most important transformation was the construction, by the City Council, of a new cemetery, built on the land of Can Sales. Other actions that changed the appearance of the future neighborhood were, in 1862, the opening of the railway line, the natural separation of Porta and Sant Andreu de Palomar; the opening of the Rambla de Santa Eulàlia in 1877 (renamed Passeig de Fabra i Puig in 1918); the construction, in 1885, of the new parish of Santa Eulàlia de Vilapicina on land belonging to Can Solà; the inauguration, in 1889, of the current Passeig de Valldaura; the In the middle of the 20th century, numerous blocks of flats were built to house immigrants arriving in Barcelona.
Between 1957 and 1966, the massive construction of a large part of the buildings that today make up the southern sector of Porta was carried out, except for the space currently occupied by Plaça de Sóller, declared a space for public use. To compensate for the loss of these lands, real estate developers built the houses at a height higher than officially allowed, and it was not until a decade later that the area could be urbanized.
With the urbanization of Plaça de Sóller and the public recovery of the old railway lands, now converted into the Can Dragó park, the renovation of the neighborhood begins, where the main avenues have been remodeled, new facilities have been built and new headquarters of entities and the farmhouses that were still standing have been restored.
Torre Baró district
The name comes from two old towers built by the Pinós family in the 16th and 18th centuries, which have now disappeared.
The Torre Baró district is located where there used to be two towers built by the Pinós family during the 16th and 18th centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century, the construction of small houses began on one of the slopes that descends from Roquetes hill, with steep slopes. In fact, the newcomers built their own houses there. The incessant increase in population reached its culmination in the fifties and sixties of the last century, with the great wave of labor immigration that came to the city. Despite the demographic pressure on the city, the steep slopes of the neighborhood prevented its overcrowding. For this reason, for many years, the neighborhood lacked communication networks and urban equipment in general. The actions carried out by the administrations have improved the communications network, especially from Avinguda de Vallbona, which connects the neighborhood with the other districts of the district, and transport, with the presence of buses and the metro..
Today, the neighborhood is presented to us as a space with steep slopes, winding streets that adapt to the relief and self-built houses that survive the passage of time.
Vallbona was originally part of the municipality of Sant Andreu. It currently separates the terms of Barcelona and Montcada i Reixac. It maintains a certain village mood.
Bounded between Barcelona and Montcada i Reixac, the neighborhood is located in a mountainous area where agriculture was practiced. It has been a territory little altered by human presence until the middle of the twentieth century, when they began to build houses around the Rec Comtal, which fed water for centuries, the city, and is now almost covered. for urban land. The modernization of the communication routes and the creation of the motorways that leave the city towards the Vallesos was isolating this district from the rest of the districts of the district, something that avoided the massification. Also, like other neighborhoods, it lacked infrastructure and services. In recent decades, a series of measures have been applied to improve the quality of life, mainly the construction of new homes, facilities and the connection of Vallbona with other neighborhoods in the district with a bridge that saves highways.
Located in the central part of the district, the district of Verdun is a completely urbanized triangle and consists basically of two large housing developments.
Verdun is a triangular-shaped neighborhood made up basically of two large housing developments built in the early 1950s. The Verdun industrial estates occupied the old forests transformed in the 19th century into farmland, especially vineyards, located in the western part of the old town of Sant Andreu de Palomar. The neighborhood changed its appearance from 1904, when the Manicomi road (now Pi i Molist street) and the Paseo de Verdun, which connected Vilapicina with Verdun, were opened. At this time, the first summer houses of the workers of the large factories of Sant Andreu de Palomar were built. These first constructions came together in two nuclei, one of which was located around the streets of Batllori, Viladrosa and Joaquim Valls, and the other in the area of Carrer de Casals i Cuberó, known as “the neighborhood of Charlot ”, promoted by Carmel Tusquellas, popularly known as Charlot.
The definitive transformation of Verdun took place in 1952, when the so-called “Governor’s Houses” were built to accommodate the shantytowns moved from Avinguda Diagonal on the occasion of the Barcelona Eucharistic Congress. These were 41 isolated blocks of medium height. The 900 homes had between 17 and 25 square meters of surface, presented constant pathologies and required continuous repairs. Access was restricted to those who did not have the corresponding accreditation. In the democratic stage the continuous neighborhood demands were answered and the blocks were replaced by new houses. The remodeling of the neighborhood was also carried out, which has since made it possible to gain new public spaces, facilities and services. The first space in the neighborhood is around the square of Charlot, and the second has as its axis the Plaza del Verdum, which refers to the so-called bird. The name Verdun that has been given to the neighborhood comes from the city where the historic battle of Verdun, of the First World War.
Vilapicina and the Torre Llobeta district
Vilapicina is the southernmost district of Nou Barris. It was built around the church of Santa Eulàlia. It was joined by the Torre Llobeta after the Civil War.
Vilapicina occupies the southernmost area of Nou Barris and was developed before the other districts of the district. The town of Santa Eulàlia de Vilapicina stands out for its antiquity, formed by the old church of this name and the buildings of Ca n’Artés, an old hostel built between the 15th and 16th centuries, and Can Basté, an old farmhouse. of the eighteenth century. This complex is now part of the neighboring neighborhood of Turó de la Peira, as it is located on the east sidewalk of Passeig de Fabra i Puig, which forms the boundary.
The other notable element is the magnificent stately house in Catalan Gothic style of Torre Llobeta, built in the 15th century and later converted into a farmhouse, with a large expanse of agricultural land. At the end of the 18th century it was a resting place for walkers and travelers going from Horta to Barcelona, where they stopped for breakfast and the horses rested and drank. The surroundings of the tower, then owned by the army, were destined, after the Civil War, for the construction of social housing, with a polygon of eleven blocks that were occupied between 1952 and 1955 by to welcome evictees from the works on the opening of Avinguda de les Drassanes. The last owner ceded the property to the City Council for social use, and in the end it was restored and recovered for public utility thanks to the neighborhood struggles. This set makes up a neighborhood with its own personality.
Also noteworthy is the Passatge de l’Esperança, made up of fourteen simple houses built in the late 1920s under the influence of the Noucentista style and Art Deco. Common to all of them are the elongated and lattice windows and the pediments of the roofs, rounded, small and decorated with large sgraffito flower buds. The district is structured on the axes of Passeig de Fabra i Puig and Maragall, at both sides, and the axis Cartellà – Costa and Cuixart – Scotland, in the center, which has become the “big street” of Vilapicina. Plaça del Virrei Amat is the most central and important meeting point in the neighborhood. Right next door, on the grounds of the old Bourbon bus depots, we find a large island of public and local facilities, which includes a library, a sports center, an old people’s home and a leisure center. health care.
Recently, the perimeter sidewalks of the old garages have been developed and also, provisionally, the interior plot of this sector, where the Generalitat de Catalunya plans to build a facility in the future. This action has created a new meeting point and services in the neighborhood. This new space to promote the recovery of the historical memory of the neighborhoods will be called “gardens of Can Xiringoi”, in recognition of the farmhouse that occupied the land where the Bourbon depots were later built. In this sense, the Can Sitjà farmhouse will give its name to a square in the neighborhood.
The associative life in the neighborhood is very wide. There are many associations to share ideals and support the neighborhood, through projects that seek to improve it through culture. Each of the associations is made up of citizens grouped in civic centers and other entities that offer activities to the public.
The Popular Athenaeum stands out as the main symbol of the neighborhood ‘s culture, located in the neighborhood of Roquetes. Formerly the building was an asphalt factory, which was occupied by a group of neighbors, as it harmed the well-being of citizens in 1977. Over the years it has become a cultural space where different activities are carried out. circus, theater, shows, concerts and exhibitions, among others. It also leases the space to other companies. For example it offers an armored camera where they keep the pyrotechnic material of the Devils of the neighborhood. All of this is organized and run by non-profit volunteers. Regarding the social circus, there are monitors who teach on different days of the week, until they are finally exposed to the public creating shows, in their theater or on the street for everyone.
Many of the other associations have grouped together to form the platform “Nou Barris cabrejada, diu prou!”, Where they present their complaints about the situation of the neighborhood, and in a manifesto postulate the goals they want to achieve to improve the quality of the neighborhood.
The Nou Barris History Group, Can Basté, researches the history of the neighborhood and organizes cultural activities, such as visits to the Mental Institute of the Holy Cross, the current District Headquarters, during the Fiestas Mayores.
Parks and gardens
Nou Barris offers plenty of outdoor spaces ideal for strolling and enjoying nature and the landscape. Explore every corner of the parks and gardens in the area; let yourself be amazed and get to know all kinds of flowers and trees. Breathe fresh air from the viewpoints of the district and contemplate the best views of Barcelona.